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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Local students and advisors react to loan interest rate rise

  • Subsidized Stafford loan rates doubled on Monday July 1, and many local students may be wondering what this means for the way they pay for their education.
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  • Subsidized Stafford loan rates doubled on Monday July 1, and many local students may be wondering what this means for the way they pay for their education.
     
    Subsidized Stafford loans are offered to students with financial need, and the U.S. Department of Education pays for the interest rates while the student is still in school and for the first six months after they leave.
     
    The loan interest rates jumped from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. However, this does not apply to loans taken out before July 1.
     
    “We are still very hopeful that they will come to an agreement when the legislators return to session in July,” said Donna Barton, Assistant Director of Student Financial Services at Oklahoma Baptist University.
     
    Jonathan Polasek, a student at OBU, says he won’t let the increase affect him in the long run.
     
    “I will have to go to school one way or another and my education is the most important thing,” Polasek said. “Money will not judge my education.”
     
    Although doubling the interest rate sounds dramatic, online financial aid experts say that the increase will be less than $20 a month for the average student.
     
    But not everyone agrees that the higher interest rates are nothing to worry about.
     
    “College debt is hard to deal with,” said OBU student Bethany Jackson. “I'm surprised that they would raise the rates so significantly.”
     
    Jackson received the second highest scholarship at OBU and said she is still worried about the debt she will graduate with.
     
    Barton and Jackson both believe that education should be a top priority for the government.
     
    “If employers are requiring degrees in higher education more and more,” Jackson said, “you would think the government would work to make degrees more attainable for us.”
     
    “In my opinion education should be one of the governments top priorities,” said Barton. “I am still very optimistic that they will find a way to keep the lower interest rates.”
     

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